Sap, Syrup, Spring

Tap in Big Maple, photo by Allan L McFarlane

Today I blogged a photo from Jim Sorbie to Michigan in Pictures.

Bucket of Sap, photo by Allan L McFarlaneI looooooove maple syrup.

We used to make it when I was a kid, tapping the maples on M-22 by our house. The whole process is one of my favorite memories, and I can’t begin to describe how good it felt to bring a metal cup our and drink cup after cup of sub-freezing sap before school while I waited for the bus!

Here’s a NYT article about what the South Koreans feel about drinking maple sap:

Unlike North Americans who collect maple sap to boil down into syrup, Korean villagers and their growing number of customers prefer the sap itself, which they credit with a wide range of health benefits.

In this they are not alone. Some people in Japan and northern China drink maple sap, and birch sap has its fans in Russia and other parts of northern Europe. But no one surpasses southern Koreans in their enthusiasm for maple sap, which they can consume in prodigious quantities.

“The right way is to drink an entire mal” — 20 liters, or about 5 gallons — “at once,” said Yeo Manyong, a 72-year-old farmer in Hadong. “That’s what we do. And that’s what gorosoe lovers from the outside do when they visit our village.”

But how can you drink the equivalent of more than 50 beer cans of sap at one go?

“You and your family or friends get yourselves a room with a heated floor,” Mr. Yeo said, taking a break under a maple tree in Hadong, 180 miles south of Seoul. “You keep drinking while, let’s say, playing cards. Salty snacks like dried fish help because they make you thirsty. The idea is to sweat out all the bad stuff and replace it with sap.”

For more about how syrup is made, check out The Cycle of Sweetness: From Sap to Maple Syrup. You can also read a little about how Native Americans made maple sugaron Michigan in Pictures. Absolute Michigan has more Michigan maple syrup features & links.

The photos were taken by my dad, Allan L. McFarlane.

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